Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy new year.

Super splendiferous happy veggie gardening for 2012 everyone. May your bugs be few and your harvest be bountiful.
I'll be celebrating tomorrow by eating the first sweet corn for the season. All hot and buttery. 

Cheers and happy new year


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Brain fade or memory full?

It seems my brain has gone on holidays along with the season. I've racked my brain for the last two days and have come up empty for anything to write about.

Pretty huh?
If it's not that it could be that I'm distracted with the new iPhone 4s that I got from Optus just before Christmas.

Or it could also be that I'm distracted with making plans to get myself to the Snowy Mountains to climb or walk to Mt Kosciusko. You're looking at a thoroughly inexperienced traveller here. So far I've managed to get myself from Toowoomba to Brisbane with only a vague idea of how to get from there to Canberra and then on to the mountain. Aside from the planning to get there, I also have to fit in some training so as I can make the walk in some style.

Either way about all that I've been able to manage is watering, weeding and some mulching and liquid fertilizing.

It's raining from a storm here as I write this so it looks like I'll get a few days off from watering.

Now that I'm sitting here writing I'm beginning to think of a few things I can write about. So it looks like I'll get a few post out of the old brain yet. Yay!

Cheers, I'll be back in a day or two


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My favourite tool

I couldn't get by in my veggie garden without my Dutch hoe. What tool could not do without?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Today's harvest

Today's harvest. I'd already eaten half the carrot. Heaps more coming on too.

The zucchini and yellow button squash have small fruit on them and there's potatoes everywhere, more beans, oh and I ate my first Burke's Backyard 'Santorini' tomato. Boy are they a tasty little tomato. You can also see my very first Yellow Taxi tomato after nearly 18 months of trying. Nearly all the potatoes are self sown so I'm not sure what is under the ground but they have different coloured flowers and the leaves vary from bush to bush.

Plenty of new seedlings have burst through as well. there is, leeks, lettuce, zucchini, squash, more radish, some self sown golden beetroot, water melon, parsley, some pickling onions and some spring onions. Oh the Chinese cabbage and the pak choy are up too. Some fennel seed I planted seems to have failed so I'll need to replant them.

It's hard to imagine but as I'm picking this Summer harvest I'm already working out what and where I'm going to put my winter planting. I've never had great success with Brussels sprouts but I'm going to have another go this year. Eventually I'll find a variety that likes it here. 

Any way I'd better get going, taxi tomorrow and heaps of veggie gardening to do on Tuesday.



Thursday, December 15, 2011

Just watch the video

Just watch the video. It's self explanatory.

Coming up.

It might just look like a row of lettuce seedlings to you but to me I see a whole lot of summer salads coming up.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

1910 Rhubarb Chutney

1.5 kgs of Rhubarb cut up and ready to be turned into chutney

And an hour and a bit later.
My Rhubarb's growing well and I saw a recipe for rhubarb chutney so as they say one thing lead to another.

I didn't dissolve the sugar enough and most of it sunk to the bottom of the pan and toffied itself there but it still turned out alright.

I've only had a small taste and with 1 teaspoon of extra hot chillie powder it certainly has a nice kick to it but you don't lose the rhubarb taste or the sweetness from the sugar.

I'll leave it for a month or so and give it a good taste test but I think this will be a keeper.

Here goes the recipe

1910 Rhubarb Chutney
  • 1.5kgs chopped rhubarb
  • 500g onion' chopped
  • 500ml vinegar
  • 750g sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1tsp nutmeg
  • 1tsp mixed spices
  • 1tps ground cloves
  • 1tps cayenne (optional)
  • 1tps curry powder

  1. Combine all ingredients and boil for one hour, making sure all sugar is dissolved before you reach boiling.
  2. Bottle and seal in sterilized jars
  3. Leave for a month or two to mature before use.
  4. And that's it. Here is a link to the recipe I used. 1910 Rhubarb Chutney from Best Recipe's


Chutney Stewart

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My Basic Coleslaw

Raining a little here today so I'm just sitting back and listening to the seedlings grow. Also have nectarines on the stove cooking, getting ready for a nectarine chutney I'm going t try. And that'll be interesting to say the least seeing as it will be a first for me. Nectarine recipe I'll be trying.

My Basic Coleslaw

Lots of extra carrots but just as tasty.
I'd dare say almost everyone would have their own favorite coleslaw recipe but just in case you don't here's one I use with much success and enjoyment.

Stuff you'll need

  • 6 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 carrot grated (sometimes 2)
  • 2/3 cup mayo ( I like the whole egg mayo)
  • 1/2 sour cream
  • 2 tbsp vinegar (apple if you like)
  • 2 tbsp veggie oil
  • 2 tbsp sugar (I use castor sugar) (or to taste)
  • I also grate radish 1 or 2
  • A diced onion as well

Toss cabbage in a large bowl with the carrots, onion and radish. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients  Pour the mixture over the cabbage and carrots and toss to coat thoroughly. Bung it in the fridge until you're ready. There you go a s easy as falling off a log.

I find if you half the above recipe you'll have enough for about four people or in my case three people and some left over for a chicken and coleslaw sandwich.



Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's a squishy problem

 A couple of posts ago (FYI, Tuesday, November 8, 2011) I let you know about the nasty 28 spotted ladybeetle and thought I'd share an odd 28 spotted ladybeetle experience I had today.

It all started early this morning while I was working in the veggie garden when I noticed a couple of 28 spotted ladybeetles sunning themselves on one of my potato bushes and having a good old munch on my potato leaves as well no doubt.

 In the past I've never bothered with them because I'd only ever see one or two on a plant and think 'they couldn't do that much damage' and would then be surprised at the damage that was done. Today though I thought ' I'll fix you ya little buggers' and I squished the few I saw but during the day when I walked past the same potato bushes I'd notice a few more and then I'd squish them too.

  By the end of the day I'd squished 44 of the buggers off five different potato bushes and now I can see why so much damage occurs. What I haven't worked out though where they hide or where they come from or why I only see two or three at a time because I gave each plant a good looking over after I'd removed the obvious beetles and never found any sign of any more but and hour later I'd go past and there'd be another two or three on each plant. I can see I'm going to have to keep up my squishy vigilance if I am to keep on top of this spotty problem but there remains a few questions that I need answers for..



Saturday, December 3, 2011

Leek 'Lyon - Prizetaker'

Not mine, but I hope they look like this when I'm finished
There's a rain a comin'. Well at least it been forecast to. And when there's rain a comin' and I have a day off, Sunday that is, that can only mean one thing. It's a seed planting time.

I'll have my work cut out for me tomorrow because I want to get all of these planted so as I can take advantage of the coming rain.

  1. Leek 'Lyon - Prizetaker'
  2. Watermelon 'Sugar Babe'
  3. Zucchini
  4. Squash yellow button
  5. Spring onion
  6. Pak Choi
  7. Chinese Cabbage 'Nagaoka F1'
  8. Fennel 'Florence Finale'
  9. Radish
  10. and some Marigolds
As usual I have a ton of weeding to do as well as spreading blood and bone around the other half of the garden that I didn't get done before the last rain.

Cheers then to a busy and productive Sunday


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Lettuce rejoice.

Working like mad again (I'm self employed. It's the only way I can get a Christmas bonus and a few days off) and I've only managed a few hours in the garden on Sunday afternoon but I still managed to find out something interesting.

You see I've tried getting some lettuce seed up and running but my strike rate has been appalling which it usually isn't.

 As I'm a reasonable seed starterer I began to suspect the seed although they were supposed to be viable and not out of date.

Therefore in order to see if it was me or the seed I went out and bought two varieties of 'fresh' lettuce seed and planted them as I usually do and 'hey presto', wouldn't you know it, within four days I had lettuce seeds germinating and sprouting all over the place.

So if you every find yourself puzzled as to why you are having trouble getting seeds up try some fresh seed first.

Cheers and happy sowing


Saturday, November 26, 2011


Here it was on the 30-10-11. It had grown since.
I'm devastated, disillusioned and verging on tears, um, yes, well, that might be a little over dramatic but I will say I am disappointed at the very least.

You see, what happened is, I'd left one of my Bulls Blood Beetroot go to seed with the obvious goal of collecting the seed for future plantings. Now all has been going well, it had (notice the past tense) grown to a height of over two meters and was multi-stemmed as well as being absolutely covered in flowers that would have turned into seed for me to collect.

Now, as I mention the past tense, then you will have gathered that my seed collecting days are over, for now at least. and why might you ask?

Simple really, it got too big for it britches, or root system if you like. Over Wednesday night we had 80mm of rain in which I was rejoicing but it was all to much for the a fore mentioned Bulls Blood Beetroot. With the added weight of all the water covering the plant and the softening of the ground from the rain it just fell over and uprooted itself. So now my Bulls Blood Beetroot is an ex Bulls Blood Beetroot without seed.

Another catastrophic event, sent to test me I'm sure, was when a good friend dropped around a few Amaranthus  plants in exchange for a few I had. All was good. I put them in a safe place, gave them a water and would get around to planting them in the next few days. How wrong was I, the very next morning having my walk around the veggie garden before I went to work and there where my amaranthus reduced to three chewed up stems and not a leaf in sight. Arrrggghhh, I said to myself, the bloody possum likes amaranthus.

And just in case you're wondering about the purple dutch carrot then you'll be glad to know it is fine and you can also bet your life that I going to stake it tomorrow so as to prevent the same fate happening to it.

Barring any further catastrophes it's been all plain sailing so far and I hope it stays that way.

Cheers and good luck to you,


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Purple dutch carrot progress.

 Good news trendsetters, after running a cleanup program on my PC and almost killing my modem I'm now back online.

And even more good news my fellow veggie fiends, 80mm of rain here overnight and I swear I can hear the veggies giggling with glee.

In the beginning
Apart from all the good news above the reason I'm here is to show you this, ta-dah. Yep you guessed it, this is how much the 'purple dutch' carrot has grown since I brought it home from the supermarket and planted it, to see if it would do what it is doing, back in August. Go here to check out the beginning.

It has grown a flower stalk about 60/70cm tall and has started forming flower buds.

I can hardly wait for the seed to ripen so I can have a go at growing my own. It will still take a while from here but I'm sure it will be worth the wait.

 Nice seed head s forming

One thing about carrot foliage is it's green.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

All work and not much play. But it's nearly Christmas.

It's all work, heat, dry and watering here for me since Sunday. So far it's  been Mon 34c, Tue, 36c, and today it was 34c again. On top of that I was asked to work on Tuesday, my regular day off,  to which I said yes. With Christmas being just around the corner I could use a few extra dollars.

Sunday itself was a productive day with lots of weeding, watering, mulching and fertilizing. I planted the sugar baby watermelons that I'd grown from seed and they are now powering along with all this heat we're having. I also sowed seed for more baby beetroot and carrots along with two punnets of lettuce (can't have too much lettuce) and one of some Yates wild rocket seed.

They, that is those who profess to know, aka the Bureau of Meteorology, have us, Toowoomba, down for 28c tomorrow so that is something of a reprieve.

I planted some leek about a week and a half ago but there is no sign of them germinating just yet but I'll persevere with them a bit longer and the corn seed I planted Tuesday week ago is just starting to poke through the soil. And the corn I planted before that must be between 2 and 3 feet tall now and almost growing in front of my eyes.

What else then? Potatoes are just starting to flower as are the tomatoes. the cucumber is looking like the best I've ever grown. The cabbage are rocketing along as are the cabbage grub eating them. I promise myself to make a garlic and chilli spray for them this weekend.

I think I have covered everything... no wait there is the yellow button squash, zucchini, beans and climbing beans are growing very well and the french breakfast radish I planted on Sunday are starting to sprout as well.

Then there is the lettuce I planted from punnets Tuesday week ago. They're settling in and getting a go on and the cos lettuce I planted I have started to harvest some of the outer leaves for when ever I need some lettuce in the house.

Then there's the rhubarb, ginger, turmeric and silverbeet all doing well. I'm thinking this has been the best spring, summer garden that I planted so far and I'm feeling excited about what is to come over the next few months. My only concern is the weather and I've got everything crossed that it will be very king to me.

Cheers and I hope you're enjoying your veggie garden as much as I am,


Friday, November 11, 2011

Burke's Backyard 'Santorini' tomatoes

the Burke's Backyard 'Santorini' tomatoes that I planted from seed in the video I made on planting tomato seed.

They are about ten weeks old now after planting the seed and are just starting to flower. They seem to be making good growth with just basic tomato care.

I'm a little concerned about blossom end rot here (having had to deal with it before) which can be caused by a deficiency in calcium and or irregular watering so I'm watering before the soil dries out too much and before the plant wilts. I've also added about 500g of gypsum to the soil around the base of each plant to ensure a good supply of calcium.

My only other concern for this tomato or all my tomatoes for that matter is the dreaded fruit fly. Now I've read that this is a type of cherry tomato which I'm hoping will work in my favour because for some reason unbeknownst to me fruit fly don't bother cherry tomatoes.

It has also been very hot here the last few days so the first chance, probably Sunday at this stage, I'll mulch them up with some straw to help save some soil moisture and keep the soil around their roots a little cooler.

Next time I hope to be showing you a huge bountiful harvest of bright red Santorini tomatoes, if everything goes to plan.

Until then cheers


Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I took this photo to let you all know this little bugger will eat the green above ground bits of your potatoes to smithereens. It is called the 26 or 28 spotted lady bug. I was going to waffle on about it but someone who I follow has already done a way better job than I might have.
So if you get yourself on over to Aussie Organic Gardening you can find out all about
Epilachna vigintioctopunctata and Epilachna vigintisexpunctata with some great links to other sites as well.

My first passion-fruit flower

My first passion-fruit flower. About to supply some extra tlc. Some sulfate of potash, a bit of gypsum, a handful of pelleted chook poo, some straw mulch and a nice big watering.

Cheers and it's a cracker of a day here today;


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cucumber, radish snow-pea-salad.

After a little searching I've found lots of  interesting ways of preparing radish and this one has topped my list for now.

Cucumber, radish snow-pea-salad.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy!


Serves: 4
  • 175 g snow peas, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cucumbers, scored and thinly sliced
  • 2 bunches radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted (optional)


Preparation method

Prep: 10 minutes | Cook: 5 minutes | Extra time: 5 minutes
Cook snow peas in a saucepan of lightly salted boiling water until crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain. Rinse under cold running water.
For the vinaigrette, whisk the vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil and salt in a bowl until sugar and salt are dissolved.
Combine the snow peas, cucumber and radish in a large bowl. Add vinaigrette; toss to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using.
Copyright Copyright by The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. 2007



Saturday, November 5, 2011

Radish! What to do?

Howdy trendsetters? Today on facebook I asked my friends this question, 'I'm after recipes and ideas or ways to use radish. I can grow the little buggers but I don't know how to use them! Anyone?' And now it's your turn
 Just pop your recipes and ideas or ways to use radish into the comments for me. Much appreciated.

So far I have.
  • Jatz with cream cheese and little round slices of radish. Yum.
  •  cut in half and dipped in salt and cracked pepper yum! Or you can make a radish cream like horseradish for a condiment  
  • Roast radishes are delicious!
  • Sliced very very thin in salads is the only way I have had them
  • Ingredients (serves 6)
    18 lamb cutlets, excess fat trimmed
    11/2 tbs curry powder
    1 garlic clove, crushed
    1 tbs peanut oil
    Salt & freshly ground black pepper
    Radish yoghurt
    1 x 200g container natural yoghurt
    6 radishes, washed, dried, stems and roots trimmed, cut into matchsticks
    1/4 cup loosely packed finely chopped fresh coriander
    2 green shallots, ends trimmed, finely chopped
    1 tbs fresh lemon juice
    1 garlic clove, crushed
    Pinch of salt

    Place cutlets in a large glass or ceramic dish. Combine curry powder, garlic and oil in a bowl. Pour over cutlets and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to marinate.
    Meanwhile, to make the radish yoghurt, combine the yoghurt, radish, coriander, green shallot, lemon juice and garlic in a serving bowl. Taste and season with salt. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until required.
    Preheat a char grill on medium-high. Drain cutlets and season with salt and pepper. Cook on grill for 2 minutes each side for medium or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with the radish yoghurt.
    Hop into spring with our favourite pasta salad recipes, lemon recipes, zucchini recipes and easy desserts.
What about a radish curry? Apparently it's common in India. Significant other, here, does a respectable one...

I'm about to hit google and the interweb up for ideas and any I think worthy I'll let you know about.

Cheers and how was your gardening today?


Thursday, November 3, 2011

4 weeks in the life of a bean

Seed planted Sunday, 1st Oct, 2011

One week later at 6am
I'm equally amazed and fascinated with the rapid growth a bean seed can make once planted. So here is a four week photographical diary of the growth of a bean seed I planted on the first of October
Same day as above at 12pm.

Week three

And week four.



Tuesday, November 1, 2011

fruits of her labor

From the book 'Victorian Preserves, Pickles, and Relishes by Allison Kyle Leopold

Equipped with silver knife and enamelled preserving
kettle, the housewife joyously proceeds with her task of 
converting the baskets or cases of luscious fruit into
delisious preserves, spicy, pungent pickles,
rich marmalades and translucent jellies; and when 
all is finished, it is with worthy pride and
satisfaction that she gazes upon the
"fruits of her labor."
-"The Housekeeper," The Ladies' World, 1901

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sweet, Sweet Corn

 Sweet corn, if I'm planting in late October then obviously that makes it a warm weather crop.
I'm planing on planting four monthly crops of nine or ten plants, which will make early February my last planting but should leave me enough warm weather to finish off the crop.

Sweet corn is also a hungry plant as in it likes plenty of water and a rich well fertilized and well drained soil at planting time and additional fertilizer, applied in my case at monthly intervial until all the corn cobs have been eaten.

Talking about eating when it comes to reaping the rewards of home grown produce then sweet corn is right up there. When it comes time for me to cook my corn I usually have the water boiling on the stove before I go and pick what I want to eat. I also remember an episode of M.A.S.H. where Col. Potter was talking getting back home an his idea was to somehow peel back the skin off the corn and just lean the plant over and dip the corn cob into the boiling water. Now that's fresh.

The photo on the left shows a roughly one meter square area that I prepared for the corn I used a bucket of aged compost and a half bucket of Searl's 5 in 1. I also used two hundred grams of Organic Xtra, an organic fertilizer I've been using with some good results.

I usually grow my corn from seed sown direct where it is to be grown but I've had a late start to the growing season therefore I bought a punnet of corn in order to catch up four of five weeks. The next crop will be planted from seed.

Organic Xtra blends the proven properties of
  • composted manure
  • blood and bone
  • feather and fish meal
  • seaweed
  • natural minerals
  • and Sulphate of Potash.

    Ta-dah, the finished product. Watered in with a fish and seaweed liquid fertilizer (told you they were a hungry plant) I'll mulch with some straw after I get the first lot of weeds out, fish and seaweed liquid fertilize every week or two plus another one hundred grams of Organic extra at the beginning of each month.

    Have I missed anything?I think I've covered it all.

    Cheers and happy Sweet Corn to you


    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    Spring storm rain

    20 mls. 20 mls of beautiful Spring storm rain here at 'My veggie garden' last night. I can almost hear them (my veggies that is) growing as I walk around my backyard, and the weeds but that's another story.

    I expect to see the next crop of beans up by this weekend along with the yellow button squash. The carrots and beetroot will take another week or so. Oh, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the radish up when I go out for a look tomorrow.

    I sure the the tomatoes, cabbage and lettuce I've planted will be having a good time too and it'll be great for the corn I plan to plant this weekend.

    What can I say? Nothing beats a nice fall of Spring storm rain.

    Cheers and all the best for your veggies,


    P.S. As I'm sitting here writing this we've (we've as in me and my veggie garden that is) just had another shower pass over. It's all good here.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Apple and rhubarb sponge pudding

    Apple and rhubarb sponge pudding
     I made it. The very first harvest of my Rhubarb went into making my very first effort at Apple and rhubarb sponge pudding and while it wasn't a photo perfect finish it still tasted divine. There's plenty left so I'm thinking some custard with it for desert tomorrow night.
    I also managed to pickle some eggs. I've never tried them before so I have no idea what to expect but in the latest copy of Grass Roots Magazine there was a recipe for pickled eggs and I had a few getting a bit old. So I'm thinking nothing ventured nothing gained. If they turn out alright I can take a couple to work for lunch or somkeo.

    If you want to give them a go I can post the recipe or you can pick up your own copy of Grass Roots Magazine

    Plenty of other stuff went on today but I'm getting way to tired to go on about it tonight.

    I did post a few updates on my new My Veggie Garden facebook page through out the day, so you can pop over there and see what I got up to today. There is a nice photo of my newest toy that I put to some good use today.

    Cheers for now


    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    A quick weekend update

     Just a quick weekend update. I managed to sneak home a bit early on Saturday and managed an hour in the veggie garden. I'd also sneaked down to my favorite plant nursery (Sungrown Seedlings in case you were wondering) before I finished work and bought a punnet each of Cos lettuce and Sugarloaf cabbage.

    Therefore when I got home I bolted for the garden and got stuck into planting them out. You can see the nice row of Cos in the bottom photo.

    Today being Sunday I got to knock off at around two-thirty which gave me heaps of time to get some gardening done.
    My priority was to get some seeds into the ground.
    I managed to plant
    • Beans, dwarf
    • Beans climbing
    • Carrots
    • Beetroot, baby
    • Yellow squash
    • Radish
    • and some chilli seeds into a punnet.
    Very happy to get that done.

    I still had some spare time so I just fiddled around weeding, composting (potatoes), mulching, watering and fertilizing.

    Cos lettuce I planted on Saturday.
    Speaking of potatoes these are the Purple Congo potatoes that self seeded themselves which was a great relief because I thought I'd lost them in all the rain we had at the beginning of the year.

    What do you think of the rhubarb photos?

    I'm thinking apple and rhubarb pie.

    It took a lot longer to establish than I thought it would. I think this is the second year since I planted it but right now it's powering along.

    All in all it's been a great weekend and I'm currently planing Tuesdays gardening. I know the strawbs need weeding and a feed and I have a small area I want to clear where I'm planning to plant sweet corn.

    I also want to plant some more lettuce seeds.

    Phew, talk about your busy time of the year.

    Cucumber seed I planted last Sunday has just poked its new seed leaves through the soil surface.

    Anyway, cheers for now


    P.S. don't for get my new 'My Veggie Garden' facebook page. I'd love to see you there.

    Saturday, October 22, 2011

    My Veggie Garden facebook page

    Look out, now we're in trouble. I've created a My Veggie Garden Facebook page.

    I've been puzzling over how to share smaller bits of Veggie garden info I come across but find too small for the blog where, I think, it is more useful for larger information and stories. So I decided that a My Veggie Garden facebook page would do the trick.

    Now if you find this at all interesting then I'd like to invite you to follow the link above and click the like button on my 'My Veggie Garden' facebook page and if you think any of your friends would be interested then by all means come along.

    Any feed back will be appreciated and I'd really like to know what you think or would like to see and hear about.

    Anyway, cheers for now and thanks in advance if you like the My Veggie Garden facebook page.


    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Potato Pizza

    If you click on the photo you should get a good sized readable photo to work off.



    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    You're not going to believe this. (Carrot jam)

    Cooking the 450g of carrots
    Cooked carrots with 350g of castor sugar added
    Carrot jam, yes you heard (read) me right, carrot jam. You see I was visiting my favorite life line 2nd hand bookstore the other day (last Friday I think) when I came across this little booklet called "The Complete Carrot" and inside is a recipe for Carrot jam. So being the experimentalist that I am I just had to give it a go. So I bought the booklet, a whole 80c mind you, and into the kitchen I went.

    Here is how it is written up in the booklet.

    Carrot Jam
    Carrots will make a very sweet jam (that's no understatement there). It is unlike fruit jams, but is cheap, easy to make and has an interesting flavour.

    1 lb/450 g carrots
    3/4 lb/350 g granulated sugar
    2 lemons
    pinch of ground cloves or nutmeg
    flaked almonds (I missed out on the almonds 'cos I didn't have any)

    Boil carrots till tender and mash to a pulp (I also used my stick blender to get a finer texture, be careful not to spray it all over the walls of your kitchen). Put in a heavy saucepan and boil with sugar for about 10 mins until mixture becomes thick.

    Remove from heat and cool. Then add the grated rind and juice of two lemons, a pinch of cloves or  nutmeg and some flaked almonds. A little drop of brandy gives added flavour.

    Carrot jam on toast

     How does it taste?

    Verdict! With the juice and rind of two lemons, sugar and a pinch of ground cloves in it it tastes more like lemon butter with a slight hint of carrot. But seeing as I like lemon butter and carrots I think it's great. And it might just be good for your eye sight (where did I but my glasses again?)



    Built like a brick chookhouse.

    Rhonda Hamilton and the chook house
    I couldn't go past this story from ABC Rural without passing the link to all of you.

    Built like a brick chook house. Swing by and have a read.

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    The colour purple

    According to the Sunday Mail newspaper here in Queensland and US researches it seems that 'Health conscious cooks could be serving up a new 'super-food' - the purple potato.'

    They (the Sunday Mail) go on to say that 'When cooked without fat, it had been proved to reduce blood pressure and doesn't even make you put on weight.'

    'The deep colour of the Purple Majesty variety comes from the same compounds found in blueberries, red cabbage and aubergines.'

    The 'US researches found that when eaten by overweight patients with high blood pressure, it was as effective as rolled oats in lowering their reading. The study may help resurrect the reputation of the potato, seen by dieters as a food to avoid.'

    Cheers and plant some purple tatties


    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Touch wood

    Touch wood. Today is the best I've felt for at least the last six to eight weeks. The 'low dose naltrexone' I've been taking for my UC since the fifteenth of August seems to be working on certain areas of my illness and I'm beginning to feel hopeful 'we' (my doctor and I), are onto something. What I've been calling my 'silver bullet'.

    Six weeks ago it was painful to walk, it seemed all the bones in my feet ached and I had sore lumps forming under my skin. Today both these symptoms have gone. I don't feel as bloated and my cramps are not as painful as they were. I'm feeling a little excited right now but I still have my fingers crossed for a good end result (cautiously optimistic). I don't want to get too far ahead of myself though in case it doesn't work on all my symptoms, ie the UC itself.

    Burke's Tomato seeds I planted at the end of August. 

    On a lighter note I had a lovely morning in the veggie garden before I had to set off to see my doctor. I chipped the weeds out of one of my veggie beds that I've been trying to get to for the last month and I managed to get eight seed spuddies planted. Also cleared a few beach heads in the war against weeds and cleared a space for where I'm going to plant the Burke's Backyard Tomato seeds I planted that have sprouted (here's the video of me planting the seeds). And now it's time to go back out and do some whipper snipping and mowing. The weather is warming up quickly so I hope I can keep some of my new improved health and get this veggie garden tamed before the up coming Summer.

    Cheers and wish me luck


    Sunday, October 9, 2011

    Gourmet Delight

    I always seem to over plant so with this in mind today I limited my self to a whole ten bean seeds. I figure that with a 70 to 80% strike rate that will be more than enough beans for us here. And if I plant that many seeds every 3 to 4 weeks apart I should have more than enough beans to keep us going right up until at least the middle of Autumn if not longer.

    The variety I chose to plant this time are called 'Gourmet Delight' from Mr Fothergill's, a dwarf bean with long fleshy pods and great flavour also ideal for deep freezing (so it says on the packet).

    If by chance you are a novice or beginner veggie gardener you could do a lot worse than starting out by planting some beans for yourself. For starters you will be able to see, taste, beyond any doubt that home grown fresh beans are tastier by far. Also they are so easy to grow that you should be encouraged to try other veggies and before you know it you'll be tearing up the turf so you can plant even more veggies.

    So don't say I didn't warn you when you go out to plant your 10 bean seeds.

    Just a few tips I pinched from Mr Fothergill's website

    How to grow: Sow 25mm (1in) deep in dark, damp soil. Avoid watering for a day or two afterwards. Sow 7-10cm (3-4in) apart, allowing 50cm (20in) between rows. Ensure the danger of frosts has passed and protect plants from the wind. Plant in 3-5 metre (10-16ft) rows and remove weeds regularly. Water well during dry periods and spray flowers with a fine rose on your watering can. This will help the pods to set.
    Harvest: Around 8-10 weeks from sowing

    Cheers for now


    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    My top ten essential veggie seeds to sow in October

    My top ten essential veggie seeds to sow in October

    1. Bean
    2. Beetroot
    3. Carrot
    4. Cucumber
    5. Leek
    6. Lettuce
    7. Rocket
    8. Silverbeet
    9. Corn
    10. Celery

     If you want to grow plants like Tomatoes, chillies, eggplant and capsicum  from seed then you are a bit late unless you live in the warmer parts of Aus with a longish growing season. If it's a shorter season where you are and you still want to plant some then grab yourself a punnet or two from your local nursery and bung them in.

    So what are you waiting for, lets get cracking.